The Big Dry ( Mix Content )

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by suthol, Aug 21, 2019.

  1. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think at some point if you’re the mixer you can take other opinions but at the end of the day you need to say, I’ve heard you, but here it is.

    I’m an advocate for working quickly. Otherwise there’s too much opportunity to second guess and you wind up chasing your own tail.

    That’s not to say that taking a break and living with the first draft for a few days can’t be beneficial. But then figure out if it still needs work, and if get in there and fix/ elevate. And then hand it over to mastering:rolleyes:
    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
  2. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    The good news is that the trem on the solo got the thumbs up and the background riff that I play on the second repeat of each boom, boom, boom was requested to be added back at the end with a second track an octave up.

    I also pulled the two rhythm parts in from 30% L&R to 10% L&R in the solo to beef it up a bit before panning them back out, same with the 1 per bar chords in the solo, ever so slightly louder and moved in by 10%

    Now to drag the didg out or better still find some samples or VST.

    My only fear now is that they will want the mid-high EQ on the vocal pulled back to where it was which makes it dull as per T-Rays suggestion earlier

    "Even though the lead vocal take is an excellent performance, it sounds like it is pushed way back in the mix, muffled, like she is singing through a heavy curtain."
     
  3. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think taking out some low mids and adding some air stuff will get the lead vocal more clarity and you might even be able to back off the level a bit and still have it cut. And adding just a bit of higher mids if it doesn’t get harsh which I don’t think it will. I’m not hearing harsh as it is now. But a bit congested in the mids.

    That vocal is the focus. You’re the mixer. When that vocal is happening it has to sing. Pun or not. Everybody wants to hear themselves more. Screw that. The lead vocal needs to be the star. The supporting stuff is just that. I kinda look at it a bit like a movie. The scenes change through time. In a song it’s the same idea. There’s an intro, verse, chorus, may be a bridge or a pre chorus etc. In each of those “scenes” something gets to be the star. What’s the story the song is telling? What needs to be the focus in each part. But within that how strong is the lighting on the lead? It can change from scene to scene. Sometimes the background stuff comes more into focus. How do the scenes move from one to the next. How do they build or not? The arrangement (and therefore the production) set the tone for the mix, but you still have wiggle room there to change the focus of each “scene”, whether it be simple fader movies, eq, panning, the whole enchilada of mix tools and techniques. Or not if that’s what the song calls for.

    Here, for me, I think the vocal could benefit from a bit less thickness in the mids and more highs, and I think it can be done without losing its power. But, I could try the stuff I suggested and decide it wasn’t an improvement. I think it would take about two minutes to see if it works or not. I’d start with trying to scoop some low mids.

    Now, none of that deals with interband dynamics.

    Easy for me to throw out mix ideas and say screw the band members input. But if I’m the mixer, I m gonna be pretty hard ass and stick to what I think serves the song best. And hope the rest of the band comes around if they’re not completely on board initially.

    Best of luck with the mix, but you got the most important parts down. Lovely song and performances.

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
  4. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    Dave,

    It seems like Geoff is correct in his EQ suggestions however
    you did mention you having to contend with the vocalist and her
    voice maybe being a bit shrill at times?

    Well, those issues can be tamed and there are good examples to use as a
    guide for your own reference. here's a couple that sound like your song,
    with all the background vocals and the lead vocal being in that range:



     
  5. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks Stu & Geoff, I have asked Julie what she found most appealing in the take she liked which was the one where T-Ray said she sounded like she was singing through a heavy curtain.

    I had been emailing them mp3s and am now dropboxing the 16 bit wave files, hopefully the will listen and hear not just listen, I'm also using multiple different listening devices and Max, Bob & Julie are only using one type each and only Max has decent speakers ( KRK Rokitt 6 )

    We will get there eventually, so close I can smell it.
     
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  6. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Just guessing, but they probably hear and feel the fullness of the lead vocal. And like it. And it definitely has that. That’s appealing. No doubt about it. They are really liking that quality. Can you maintain that but have the vocal be even more impactful and even give the background a little more oomph?

    Well, possibly. I think so. There may be a win win here. In balancing thickness and clarity and giving the background stuff room to breathe too. I jibber jabbered about movie scenes and whatnot but the word I want to emphasize is impact. What does that mean! Well, it means what it means. Yeah, louder than everything else will have impact. But there are other ways to achieve that. Depth of space. Dry pulls you up front but so can compression. Delays and verbs can work wonders to stitch stuff together. Distortion can be an amazing tool. Especially if used on a very limited portion of the audio spectrum.

    To me everything about mixing comes down to the idea Of impact. It doesn’t mean loud. It may mean forward, but not necessarily. But where should things sit? Do/ how do they move the song forward? And then are they in the spotlight or are they not and then how is the lighting and camera focusing?

    Ok I wax philosophical with a bit of Makers Mark. So be it. But I think the basic point is solid. Impact. However you can achieve it. Once you’ve grabbed on to that I think you’re gonna be ok.

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
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  7. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks Geoff, as Woody say I'm still swinging that hammer.

    The problem is that we get together on Wednesdays and they'll latch onto a mix or request changes which I make but my mastering software is on my PC at home so I can't show them the finished product there & then.

    So I get home and run it up and then hear back, but this is not what we signed off on, as a pensioner I don't have the cash for multiple licences of all of the SW I am using.

    Which will break first, the hammer or the anvil :D
     
  8. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    Maybe half your problem is having a group full of musicians telling
    the one guy who wears the mix engineering hat and the production hat
    what and how to do his job!

    Let the man do his job! Lol.

    I've heard the word balance being thrown around the forum.
    Now it's time to put that good word to use.
    Balance between plain vanilla and not plain vanilla.
    Balance between dry and nasty wet.
    Balance between being the boss during mix sessions and being the bishop of love and peace!
     
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  9. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    I've asked them exactly what is was they liked about their preferred mix, once I have that I'll have a better idea of what is required to put it to bed.

    Sadly I know I'll get three different and probably competing responses
     
  10. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    So, do they play their version off of copies you've made for them?
    Like a tangible CD copy?

    Or are you putting your mix on SoundCloud and having them all have the same source
    to start with?

    Do you ever listen to Paul?
    I like listening to Paul.
    Blurring the lines between audiophile and mix nuts like us:

     
  11. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    I was emailing mp3s bit that sucks the life out of the tracks so now dropboxing the 16 bit wave files
     
  12. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    Dropbox is cool.

    The things we do for our art! Lol.
     
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  13. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    I should Dropbox the 32 bit files up around 80M each instead of 35M for the 16 bit and 6M for the mp3.

    The difference in quality is obvious if your gear is good enough not just effing earbuds or bass heavy headphones and you both listen and hear.
     
  14. t-ray

    t-ray Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I am really liking this latest mix. Good luck with the mates.
     
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  15. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks T-R, I'm about 2 hours from judgement on this

    Despite sharing the wave files by dropbox I've had no feedback at all which is annoying, it wastes time as if changes were required I could have made them and presented a new mix & master today.

    My process post mix is to run the mixed track through AAMS ( mastering software out of Holland ) which outputs mp3 and 16 bit & 32 bit wave formats.

    AAMS has a huge number of style preset options but if you have a specific song that has the sound you are after it will analyze that and create all of the EQ, Comp & Limiter settings in a template, obviously you need to start with something better than an mp3 as the sample.

    I guess it's similar to using an online product like Landr but with far more options, for Big Dry I am using one of the stock presets Rock 1960-70, I wanted to use one of the Alt Country presets but that was deemed unacceptable, the difference was very subtle ( maybe I should have used one of the Drum & Bass presets :D )
     
  16. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    Well, it would appear that the issue is with my Altec monitors becoming too bright for some reason and I'm taking the edge off the master fader.

    When I asked them what they liked about one track over all the others Max A-B them and it was obvious, don't know what has changed with my kit but it has so I have to learn to listen all over again.

    I have another much better pair of monitors to swap in and I'll be doing that as well, another issue is Max is running Win7, Julie is on a Mac and I'm on Win10, Bob uses BT from his iPhone to a fairly spikey sound bar or consumer headphones so I guess we cover most listener experiences with a multitude of quite different media players.

    I'm using VLC as a media player with everything set flat and I doubt that Max and Julie understand the EQ on their media players.

    At least I now understand what I'm dealing with.

    Back to the anvil with a clear objective.

    Good news is that we got the bones of another three songs down one of which is going to be a major guitar challenge, the song is an energetic western swing at 175bpm, at least I talked them into moving it from Bb to A, it was written in C and Julie struggled with the high notes and once she hit it in Bb I told her I like the brightness of your voice but let's move it to A to give me half a chance to land the guitar ( I'm not a capo fan )
     
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  17. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    After a nights sleep and not dwelling on it I have realized the dull mixes have been mostly done through headphones.

    A new pair of Sennheiser's rather than the Sony's I have used for the last couple of years

    There is another variable I had not considered
     
  18. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    We are now brighter, there's a preset in Reaverb that adds reverb with crunch and with a bit of tweaking brightened it up nicely, I really didn't want to visit the EQ well again because I didn't want to upset me he balance I had.

    Once I hear back from the band I'll pop it up for a listen.

    Other news, Julie entered an Australia wide songwriting comp and has made the last 30 which will be trimmed to 5 and the winner announced by the end of September, she entered The Big Dry, You Sure Look Good To Me ( I have posted previously ) and another Blackbird which is written from an aboriginal mothers perspective of the stolen generation (Google is your friend to understand this sad happening)
     
  19. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    3 cheers for Julie!

    Go Julie Go!
     
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  20. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    Latest and hopefully final mix now in the first post, brighter and the ending now much more defined
     
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